Feb 5, 2011

Bird's-Eye View of the Week: Snow Days: Another Reason to Homeschool

From the looks of posts on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' blog  there are LOTS of people's weeks being upended by snow disruptions. I can commiserate. Last year Old Man Winter had the Mid-Atlantic is his sights. Our PS kids lost so much schooltime, there weren't even enough "make-up" days at the end of the year to right the balance. Adjustments even  had to be made for graduation requirements.
Last year. Not to be repeated, we hope.
  At first, our homeschool's plan was to give a "snow day" when the PS closed. But after a couple of times of that, we adjusted to having half-days. This seemed fair since we can get done in about half the time of a PS kid's regular day, so Mei would be able to keep up with her studies and still be free to play with the neighbors who were sleeping in most days anyway!

   I think the Ambleside Online team even posted on their Yahoo Group site how to share AO with those PS families whose kids were getting woefully behind.
   I also feel sorry for the PS families who just don't know what to do with their kids!
"My kids are driving me crazy!" "My kids are bored!"
 "I'm tired of making cookies!"
 What a shame. When I read these things, I'm thankful that MY "blessing" is NOT bored, and that she does NOT drive me crazy--at least by being home anyway! :-D Snow Days: Another Reason to Homeschool.
      We had a "Surprise Snow"last week that caused a lot of chaos in the area, especially where the Grand-Robins live. Hundreds of thousands of outages and commuters stuck on DC roads for many, many hours, our fledged DD included. So once again, keeping to our routines as best as possible allowed school to continue in the midst of it. Yet we were able to flex and assist family members as well.
    This week's weather promised chaos and then didn't deliver, which can be chaotic anyway. Thus despite  the weather's best attempts to disrupt our educational routines, we marched onward. 
Our Island StoryThis Country of Ours    In History, we've been reading about happenings on both Sides of the Pond. On America's side, from  This Country of Ours we read about Jamestown's beginnings through the Starving Time. I contrasted the horrors of surviving when 5/6ths of the population died--mostly from the results of their indolence---to the rather squeaky-clean site we had visited down in Virginia. Nonetheless, the site's webpage has lots of good teaching tools that we may use to advance our study. On the other side of the pond, from An Island Story is James I of England and the inspirational story of Jenny Geddes who stood up to the King and his "reforms" of the early Presbyterian Church in Scotland. Moral: Don't mess with a Scot, especially a woman!
     Enchanted Learning.com provided us with some quick color-and-fill-in-the-blank maps of Virginia to add to Mei's knowledge of the geography of the area. I've been sneaking in more Geography that way.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother     Math was about as much fun as a fall on the ice a unit ago when Mei was confronted with Multiple-Digit Multiplication with Regrouping. Even the name sounds daunting.  She struggled so much with the addition part that she failed a test for the first time in her Math "Career." Testing the ideas of Amy Chua ,the now-famous , or infamous, Tiger Mother, I demanded that Mei work and rework each problem until it was correct. One day took four hours of math alone. I could feel the cold, hard stare of Charlotte "Short Lesson" Mason on my neck.   Whether or not it was worth the trouble, Mei has improved dramatically. She only got one problem wrong on the latest test. Because she is a dawdler and dreamer, perhaps knowing how painful reworking will be, she may be paying closer attention the first time around. Close attention. Now that's something Charlotte can agree with.
  Reading and Life
Mei was inspired by a Reading lesson to make the recipe she had studied. I never
would have taken the thing seriously, but
I'm glad she did. The Energy Bars were delicious and the best part was she made them with very little help from me. Masterly Inactivity. Now Charlotte can even be proud of me!

Art and Nature Study were combined through Harmony Art's Year 3 program through which we have lately focused on the works of John James Audubon. I carefully selected several of his prints to copy and hang in our Powder Room Gallery. These included our State Bird, the Little Auk as mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter,  the Passenger Pigeon, a beautiful bird which we will never see in life due to its extinction, and an American Woodcock so we could see what our English Cocker Spaniel was bred to hunt. (We thought it was house cats and stuffed animals.) Mei created her most successful painting assignment yet of a blue jay from a life photo.

Music  Concluding the week was a field trip to the Meyerhoff to hear the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's BSO Kids Mid-Week concert  performance of  works by Beethoven narrated by the great composer himself! Where else are we going to hear concert hall performances for $6?? 

She liked this because it had a dog in it.
More Art Appreciation  Then we made it a double trip by stopping into the Walter's Art Museum and viewing the Renaissance and Baroque exhibits along with a quick trip through the special exhibit focusing on animals in  Medieval manuscripts. Seeing those books in person is so awe-inspiring! Impossible to imagine the hours and years that would go into the creation of ONE book! No wonder the printing press changed history!

We found a Rafael!


Anthing can make a jump,
but watch your step in the
Livng Room!
So with rain on top of snow Mei will get her exercise at the barn and then spend the afternoon riding around her own outdoor and truly  "indoor  arenas".  And that's how you get an education despite "snow days".

So how do you deal with bad weather?



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